BY RILEY LINSEMAN
CANstruction is a unique charity art exhibition that raises funds, food and awareness for food banks. The international event was hosted locally by the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. From March 10 to 19, great structures built from unopened cans and other food items stood proudly in Conestoga Mall. Fifteen teams each built a structure, many featuring a theme on Canada’s 150th birthday.
Many participants incorporated Canada’s strength and unity as part of their theme, and how we welcome people from all around the world, treating them as if they were our own. This might not have been obvious in the appearance of every structure, but each was accompanied by a story.
“It was wonderful to read your descriptions about the strength we find in our diversity and the importance of uniting for a common goal,” said Bailey Armitage, community event manager at the Food Bank of Waterloo Region in a speech for volunteers.
Several awards were given out at the event to honour people’s hard work. The structure with the most votes was given the People’s Choice Award, in this case, Fortifying Against Hunger by National Cash Register.
Volunteers who worked on the event posed with a cheque showing the total number of meals (700,000) that the fundraiser has provided over its 10-year history. Food items used included cans, bags of rice, Kraft Dinner and water bottles. The event started on March 10, when the teams, including Conestoga’s architecture – construction engineering technology students, were given 10 hours and a 10 x 10 square to build their structures in.
Conestoga built a Paw Patrol structure featuring the characters Rubble (construction), Chase (police), Marshall (fire) and Skye (air rescue). The description accompanying the piece said the four dogs work together to save the hungry people of Waterloo Region, collecting and delivering healthy food for all.
The description also indicated how many cans were used to build the structure, and the team members who worked on it.
Professor Jim Gerrard and his students have been participating in CANstruction since it first started in 2008. The structure this year was built out of 1,800 cans and created excitement in just about every kid who passed it.
Judging from the statistics shared by the food bank’s Bailey Armitage, CANstruction has been a successful event not only in terms of turnout, but in meals raised as well.
“This year, your creativity, energy and fundraising efforts raised enough food and funds to provide 93,000 meals for our community. This means that in the 10 years of CANstruction Waterloo Region, we’ve raised 700,000 meals,” said Armitage.